Donald Trump has tweeted his approval at Chinese president Xi Jinping’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak, saying that ‘great discipline is taking place in China’.
The US President made the positive comments after having a ‘long and very good’ conversation with the Chinese leader.
Earlier this week, China criticized the US for ‘creating and spreading fear’ over the virus as the US put in place a ban on the entry into America of foreign nationals who had recently traveled to China.
In the tweet on Friday, Trump said: ‘Just had a long and very good conversation by phone with President Xi of China. He is strong, sharp and powerfully focused on leading the counterattack on the Coronavirus.
‘He feels they are doing very well, even building hospitals in a matter of only days. Nothing is easy, but he will be successful, especially as the weather starts to warm & the virus hopefully becomes weaker, and then gone.
‘Great discipline is taking place in China, as President Xi strongly leads what will be a very successful operation. We are working closely with China to help!’
In a press briefing on Monday, Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said the US ‘hasn’t provided any substantial assistance’ in the virus and has only created ‘panic’ after Washington declared a public health emergency.
It comes as an elderly American woman sent a desperate message from a cruise ship which has remained quarantined off the coast of Japan with a coronavirus outbreak on board which has 61 people infected, including eight Americans.
The unidentified passenger on board the Diamond Princess relayed her message to a news reporter late Thursday.
Will Ripley, international correspondent with CNN, tweeted that the woman’s frightening words about 10:30pm.
‘We are scared… I don’t want to leave this ship in a box’, the woman, who is from Florida, said.
The tweet also confirmed that the number of coronavirus cases on board ‘TRIPLED overnight’.
Posts from a Twitter user on board who posts under the handle @daxa_tw reveals images of medical teams in protective suits walking through the halls of the cruise ship.
Another post shows the a team sorting medical supplies, while a third reveals passengers congregating in a dining area.
The same twitter user also posted a letter from the captain from Thursday, reporting updates on the numbers of people infected and the measures being taken by the crew, including delivering room service to ‘over 1500 staterooms’ to comfort passengers.
‘I thank everyone for their patience,’ the captain wrote, ‘and that you understand the crew are working extremely hard for you.’
The tweets were coming as another 41 people on the cruise liner moored off Yokohama Bay tested positive for the deadly coronavirus, tripling the previous number of infected to 61 Friday.
The new cases, all passengers who are in their 20s to 80s, will be taken to medical facilities in Tokyo and nearby Saitama Chiba and Kanagawa prefectures as well as Shizuoka Prefecture in central Japan.
At least one person is reported in serious condition, although the person also has a pre-existing health matter. None of the others afflicted by the virus have severe symptoms, Japan’s health ministry said.
Among the 41 who have tested positive for the virus originating in the Chinese city of Wuhan, 21 are Japanese, eight are American, five Australian, five Canadian and one each from Argentina and Britain, reports Kyodo News.
Japan’s health minister announced the findings on Friday from the remaining 171 test results taken earlier this week after a man who got off the Diamond Princess last month in Hong Kong later fell ill.
The huge leap comes amid concern among its 3,700 passengers that they are being kept in the dark about the full extent of the deepening crisis, after 10 cases were discovered on Wednesday and another 10 on Thursday.
Among the 78 Britons aboard the vessel – which has been ordered to remain at port for at least 14 days – is David Abel, who is becoming somewhat of an international celebrity through his regular Facebook videos.
This morning, Abel who is with wife Sally, said in a post, ‘My major concern now is to let the captain and the crew know, that we want to be informed of what is going on. We don’t want second-hand news, we don’t want rumors, we want to know precisely what is going on.’
In a recent video, Abel, spoke of 22 confirmed cases, apparently unaware that the figure had risen to more than 60 overnight.
‘The results of the remaining 171 tests came out and 41 tested positive,’ health minister Katsunobu Kato told reporters Friday.
‘Today they will be sent to hospitals in several prefectures, and we are now preparing for that.’
‘In total, out of 273 specimens, 61 tested positive,’ he added.
The 20 people who were earlier diagnosed with the virus have already been removed from the vessel and taken to hospitals.
Abel said today: ‘We haven’t had our temperatures taken we haven’t been asked any more questions … that has not happened for days so how are the medical people able to monitor the health situation of 3,600 passengers on board.
‘So this is what needs to be answered.’
He also raised concerns that, along with the 78 other Britons on board, he might be quarantined yet again when he and his wife arrive home and are taken to the Wirral, where 93 were transferred after being flown back from Wuhan by the government.
‘It would really be good if the Home Office would put something on the news.’ Abel added. ‘It would certainly put the minds of the Brits on board at ease.’
Abel posted a follow up video minutes later, saying that the captain had announced over the tannoy that ambulances were arriving to ferry passengers off the boat. The Briton confirmed the fact after looking out of his window.
Yesterday officials could be seen dressed in white hazmat suits, complete with face masks and helmets. An extendable white-tented passageway was wheeled to a door on the side of the massive cruise ship, apparently to protect the identity of people being evacuated from the boat.
As the massive cruise ship docked, passengers who have been told they will have to stay aboard days even if they test negative for the virus, came out onto balconies, some waving to assembled media or taking pictures.
People on board have described confusion and boredom after being confined to cabins following the decision by Japanese authorities to quarantine the vessel.
Abel said yesterday: ‘One lady hadn’t had an evening meal last night, by nine o’clock and she went outside to try and say, ‘Where’s our food’ and she was shouted at and told, ‘Get back in your room’, so it’s really being enforced.
‘There are people on every floor to make sure that people do not wander outside of their cabins.’
Among those stranded on board are 233 Australians, including Olivia Capodicasa, from Melbourne, who was on the final night of her cruise with her grandmother when the ship was locked down.
She described the conditions as being like ‘hell’ and said she had been watching movies to pass the time.
‘It has been a hell of a 24 hours stuck in here’, she told Sunrise on Thursday morning. ‘I think it is really starting to hit me now that this is the reality and I’m not going home anytime soon’.
The coronavirus epidemic has so far claimed 630 lives and infected more than 28,000 people in 28 countries and territories around the world – but 99 per cent of infections have been in China.
The outbreak has prompted the World Health Organization to declare a global health emergency, several governments to impose travel restrictions, and airlines to suspend flights to and from China.
Japan has now confirmed 25 cases of the new coronavirus – excluding the cruise ship infections – among them citizens returning from Wuhan, the Chinese city at the centre of the outbreak.
Tokyo has evacuated more than 500 Japanese citizens from Wuhan, and attracted some criticism for its relatively loose quarantine approach.
There have been several incidences of apparent person-to-person transmission in Japan, including a tour guide and bus driver who contracted the virus after coming into contact with visitors from Wuhan.
Neither had visited China in recent months.